Brent

Welcome to season two of the Intentional Family Moment where the co-founders of Coriaria interview a variety of families seeking to live an intentional family life. On this episode, we talk to Cassie Lomu about how her family chases happiness while building a family pottery business.

Michelle

First question is, what is your family story?

Cassie

Maikeli and I grew up down the street from each other. We knew each other throughout school. We started dating in high school. He went on a mission, and I waited for him. As soon as he got back, we got married six weeks later, so super quick. Then we got pregnant pretty quick after that, too. I think we’re kind of that perfect stereotype. We still feel a little bit different. I we feel like we’ve known each other a lot longer than we probably have, and I feel like we usually relate to people who have been married a lot longer. We often get told, we kind of have old souls and mindsets.That’s our story. There’s not nothing too crazy about it.

Brent

For being, as you say, a textbook story, what are some things that make you and Maikeli’s story unique?

Cassie

I think what’s unique is we did date throughout high school. We’ve kind of also had to fight against every negative connotation that goes with being in a committed relationship in high school and waiting for a missionary, and I got pregnant when I was 19. So, we constantly have to fight against that – Just those stigmas that kind of go with that. The typical stereotype would probably be just they come home from their mission, you get married really quickly and have kids really quickly. We were that but also, we only dated each other, we only went to dances with each other, we’re best friends, we only hung out with each other most the time. We had friends, but we still prefer just to hang out with each other on weekends. We do everything together, even our business now we work together. We worked together in high school, we really just enjoy spending a lot of time together, and that’s never changed. That’s what sets us apart is that we’re not just that stereotype.

Brent

What business do you and Maikeli have together?

Cassie

In high school, I got super into pottery and he was really supportive of that. In the beginning, he would stay after school with me and go to art room during lunch with me as well, and I thought it was cool that I did it. And while he was on his mission, he would always tell his companions that I did pottery and I would send them things that I make. I would send them mugs and stuff. When he came home from his mission, he was all of a sudden super interested in like also learning. So I taught him how to do pottery and how to throw. We ended up opening a little pottery studio in our backyard that we worked out of for about a year, and then we just recently moved to a bigger studio and we’re an all encompassed pottery ceramics studio now. He was actually able to quit his previous job, and now this is all we do together full time.

Brent

In what ways has working with Maikeli challenged and strengthened your relationship?

Cassie

Three weeks ago we purchased this new studio, and this week is the first week that he’s full time here. I actually told him over the weekend that I love our new studio and I love that we’re working together, but at the same time we feel like we’re almost neglecting each other in a way because all of our focus has been on our studio, getting it started, renovating. We’re here all the time. We haven’t gone on dates, or had dinner together, we haven’t sat down and ate together too much. My point is that I think it’s definitely strengthened our communication together just. When you are doing stuff together all the time, sometime’s it’s easy to think when you’re working that you’re there for each other and present for each other. He even told me that he hasn’t felt like I have been hearing him lately. So, we’ve had to really focus on communication and be very open with each other. We’ve only been three weeks into it. I’m sure this will be an ongoing issue, making sure that we take time. So we were able to set some goals together to go on a date a week and sit down for meals and, you know, just take a break. Make sure we have one of our employees here, so we can eat dinner as a family, just do things that take us away from the studio a little bit so we’re not only co-workers. Last week, that’s what it felt like. So we’ve had to really communicate with each other. I feel like it’s weakened our relationship in a way because we are so focused on the studio but also strengthened our relationship because it’s helped us develop that communication skill that we are constantly working on. Now we are working on a new aspect of it.

Brent

So what can you did us about not only strengthening your relationship with your husband while also starting a pottery studio while also being a mom? How do you balance all those competing priorities, especially with respect to being a mother?

Cassie

It’s definitely hard. It’s been a learning experience, and, hopefully, Maia is understanding of that as well. Something that’s awesome about owning your own business is that Maia comes to the studio with us every day. I think it’s a little bit hard on her sometimes, but at the same time she loves being here and interacting with people. So that’s good that we’re able to like include her in our family business. Today, she was helping clean up some like rags and stuff, and then she was even helping us load the kiln by handing Maikeli things. It’s been a good learning experience. We’re still trying to figure out when she’s hit her limit and needs to go home, throwing toys and getting out of here. I do think she likes having us both around a lot, especially with Maikeli. He usually was at work most of the day, now she gets to see him most of the day. I think that’s been really good for her. It’s been a bit of a learning experience when she has a tantrum because she’s only one and a half so we’re hitting that stage where everything is the end of the world.

We’ve actually used a lot of the things we’ve learned from you guys. My Mindful Mat and things like that, we’ve used a lot of those tools to try and help us out because there are times where Maia is just losing her mind, so we’ll have to calm down. It’s nice because we’re able to bring our Mindful Mat here and we’d like to give you a mindful minute – we’ve got to sit down and think about this and chill out. We don’t want her to ever feel like the studio is ever a punishment, or if she touches things she’ll get in trouble. We love her curiosity. We love when she wants to touch projects and wants to explore it all. It’s also hard because we’re also running a business. Balancing that and being a parent is definitely something we’re still learning. I think that just being around her more, for Maikeli especially. I was always with her, but for them especially it’s been really good. That’s always a plus side to family business is that you can have your family there.

Brent

So one last question: What does it mean to you to live an intentional family life?

Cassie

One of the biggest things we want to promote with our family is “follow happiness.” We know that, especially with our pottery studio, it’s probably not where all the money is. We’re probably not going to be the most successful in society’s eyes. We both get to be hands-on with our daughter and raise her and not put her in daycares, and do something that we love every single day – that’s amazing. We started in a small studio in our backyard, and I couldn’t even dream of what it is even a year later. We are very happiness-driven. We’ll probably make some of that looks to other people as stupid or crazy decisions. It makes us happy so we just do it. I think we’re stronger and better because of it. Like I said, we’ve been fighting every stereotype. People always have their ideas and have always given us advice on what we need to do. I’m the youngest in my family, so we’re always getting tips and advice on how we should do things. We usually probably don’t listen super well. It’s not that we aren’t thinking logically. I know I’m being kind of vague here, but when it comes to finances and careers, and all of it – even education – we haven’t followed the system is what a lot of people use.

We make our decisions very case by case, but we do like have ideas of what we want for our family. The biggest thing for us is that we want to be happy, and we want our kids to be happy. We feel like the best way for us to do that is to be very present and to have the time for them. When we were talking to some financial advisors before we purchased, they were like, “You guys even want to own a pottery studio? How much money is there, anyways?” Hopefully enough to carry us, but there is a ton of happiness for at least us in our family, and it’s the perfect situation that we could picture ourselves in. We’ve sat down and we’ve mapped out what is important to us and our family and what things we want to live by and live for. Even if it doesn’t make sense to other people, we will always follow that. Know what you want for your family and block out the noise, and just do it.

Brent

We’d like to thank Cassie for joining us. Our challenge to our listeners is to spend time this week enjoying a hobby together as a family.

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